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Reports of eye watering Mitchell fee dismissed as RFU remain silent on speculation

By Online Editors
Bulls Head Coach John Mitchell looks on during the Super Rugby match between Sharks and Bulls at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on April 14, 2018 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

England’s hopes of confirming John Mitchell as their new defence coach have been delayed as the Bulls reportedly dig in over their head coach.

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The South African side were reportedly offered £50,000 by the RFU, according to an article in Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport over the weekend, but there were claims Bulls wanted ten-times that fee to wrestle him out of his deal which runs until October 2019.

That figure was described as “premature” by the Bull Bulls Company to Netwerk 24, but a source told the publication “You can see he (Mitchell) wants to go. It would be daft to keep him here against his will.”

The RFU will be looking to minimise any compensation paid considering it is currently going through a cost-cutting exercise to deal with rising costs, including making 62 people redundant. RFU boss Steve Brown also recently warned Premiership clubs over a funding squeeze, due to a drop in revenues.

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The RFU have made no comment on the Mitchell speculation, however earlier this week The Daily Mail reported former All Blacks coach had agreed to contract terms with the RFU, with the only hurdle remaining was the buyout of his current contract.

The move was set in motion during England’s tour of South Africa in June, where Eddie Jones reportedly met with Mitchell to discuss the idea.

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Mitchell’s new deal with the RFU will see him replace Paul Gustard as the defence coach until the end of the 2019 World Cup. It will be his first role as an assistant coach since the year 2000, will be the latest stop in a long list of coaching destinations that spans six countries, his most successful being with the All Blacks where he maintained a win percentage of over 80% over two seasons as head coach.

He also coached the Golden Lions to a Currie Cup championship in 2011.

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